Cary, NC – Jon Shain and FJ Ventre have recorded music and performed together at the Cary Theater many times. But with their latest album, the two have formed a new partnership as their songwriting and collaboration moves to the next stage.
Shain and Ventre perform together at the Cary Theater on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 8 PM, promoting their new album “Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday Soon.” While the two have played music together since they were in high school and have recorded together many times, this is the first time Ventre’s name appears on the album as the main artist along with Shain.
“We’ve been playing together for more than 20 years and FJ is now discovering his songwriting voice. His lyrics and his sensibilities are coming through strongly,” Shain said. “Sometimes, one of us has a set of lyrics that’s not complete and the other person will look at it, or they’ll ask about the thematic ideas and help find the answer that way. Or sometimes, I’ll have a piece I’ve been working on and he pushes it into a new direction.”
The concert, presented by Six String, also features singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer, who has dubbed her twist on country music “Southern soul.”
“Anyone who hasn’t seen her yet is really going to be pleased,” Shain said.
Shain said, to have the kind of collaboration he has with Ventre, it requires a lot of trust. But that trust has formed over many years: the two met in high school and after going on different musical paths, Shain said they met back at the same place.
“Musically, we grew up listening to the same stuff and after time we both came to explore roots music,” Shain said. “We also just hit it off personally. Our sense of humor, our world view, is all very similar.”
Growing as an Artist
Shain is a regular at the Cary Theater, including playing a yearly fundraiser around Thanksgiving, and he even played at their first show after it was renovated and re-opened in 2014.
“A big reason I like to come back is because of David Sardinha and Six String,” he said. “David’s become a great friend and he’s a trusted businessman.”
Playing at the Cary Theater has also allowed Shain to put on unique performances, such as when he and Ventre did a live soundtrack to the silent comedy “The Cameraman.”
“It’s made us both better musicians,” he said.
And speaking of becoming a better musician, Shain recently won the 2019 International Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category, which Shain said is “the biggest thing I’ve done” as a musician.
“It means I’ve gotten to a place that took a long time to get there,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have won 10 years ago.”
In those intervening 10 years, Shain said what he’s gained is not new technical skills, but the ability to better connect with an audience.
Shain said he liked the idea of the International Blues Challenge because of the emphasis it put on the individual musicians from all around the world, rather than the idea of being better than one another.
“I didn’t enter because I believe in competition between artists. It’s a challenge to see how well you can play,” he said. “It’s not a competition; you’re not out there to beat anyone.”
Friday, August 9, 2019 at 8 PM
The Cary Theater, 122 E Chatham St.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Mike Traister, Dan Brainerd and Hal Goodtree.